Since 1997, Apple’s iconic advertisements have been produced by advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day, but in recent years it has increasingly had to compete against a newcomer to the advertising world: Apple’s new and growing internal advertising agency. According to a report published in Advertising Age on Tuesday, Apple is assembling an internal agency that will eventually employ 1,000 workers, many of whom will have been poached from advertising’s biggest names.
Apple has hired away at least two employees from the TBWA Media Arts Lab, a team dedicated exclusively to producing marketing for the computer giant.
According to the report, Apple pits its internal shop against TBWA\MAL through “jump ball” pitches, picking the better idea of the two. Not only does TBWA\MAL need to compete against Apple’s creative team, but increasingly, Apple has been inviting other agencies to pitch major projects, including several agencies that focus primarily on digital marketing.
According to an article published in Bloomberg last week, Apple’s internal shop has made several iPad Air spots that made it to air, including the Dead Poets Society-quoting iPad Air commercial, which went somewhat viral (1.5 million views on Youtube) and was widely covered in the media.
Chiat\Day was Steve Jobs’ preferred ad agency going back to the iconic 1984 ad aired during Super Bowl XIX. According to Steve Jobs, the biography by Walter Issacson, one of the first things Jobs did when he returned to Apple in 1997 was to dump BBDO, the company’s firm at the time, and re-hire Chiat\Day. TWBA merged with Chiat\Day in 1995, and the TWBA\MAL division, centered around longtime friend of Steve Jobs and Chiat creative head Lee Clow, was so trusted that Jobs treated it as if it were an extension of Apple.
More recently, marketing VP Phil Schiller praised a Samsung ad and expressed disappointment in Apple’s marketing in a 2013 email discovered as part of the patent lawsuits with Samsung. “[Apple] may need to start a search for a new agency,” Schiller wrote to CEO Tim Cook. “We are not getting what we need from [TBWA] and we haven’t been for a while.”
Apple’s advertising budget in 2013 was $1.1 billion.